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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Indefensible Ann Coulter


Ann Coulter is to political discourse what Auschwitz is to a health spa.

Elspeth Reeve writes a defense of Ann Coulter at The New Republic.

"That is why I love Ann Coulter. Coulter shocks and offends, but underneath her offensiveness is a grain of truth that people cope with by critiquing her hair. Americans like comfort: comfort food, comfort shoes, comfort pundits to reinforce everything we already believe. Ann Coulter is not comfort. I love that she pisses people off. I love her outsized confidence, rare in females who've gone through puberty, which means she doesn't turn into a pile of stuttering mush when an interview turns to her body."

"Yes, yes, Coulter has said some terrible things. But I don't think it's the terrible things that really bother liberals. Coulter makes us cringe not when she lies, but when she says things we wish weren't true. Let's go to the tape. Asked to define the First Amendment: 'An excuse for overweight women to dance in pasties and The New York Times to commit treason.' Just completely terrible, I know. But I have to admit, I giggled--having recently covered a pro-choice rally where I interviewed a very nice young woman whose nipples were covered by naral stickers."

I don't know what Reeve is talking about when she says interviewers criticise Coulter's hair or her physical appearance. I've seen enough of her media appearances and have never seen one instance of this. It's a straw man argument and irrelevant. Fortunately for Coulter, the First Amendment is also an excuse enabling bony, horse-faced flame throwers to have a career making stupid, irresponsible statements.

"On the BBC show 'Newsnight,' Jeremy Paxman asked Coulter if she'd like to withdraw her infamous statements about the September 11 widows. (If you've been living in a spiderhole, she called the more politically inclined among them 'broads'.) 'No, I think you can save all the would-you-like-to-withdraw questions, but you could quote me accurately. I didn't write about the 9/11 widows. I wrote about four widows cutting campaign commercials for John Kerry and using the fact that their husbands died on 9/11 to prevent anyone from responding,' she said. The thing is ... it's kind of true. A little."

Here is what Coulter wrote and said about the widows of 9/11.

"I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. And by the way, how do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy. . ."

The premise of Reeve's piece is that, when you strip away the demagogic name calling, Coulter's points are essentially true.

Reeve didn't provide one example supporting her premise.

Coulter's infamous remarks about the 9/11 widows, which Reeve defends, are emblematic of her technique. If Coulter had written that the women were given immunity from criticism because they lost their husbands, no one would have paid any attention.

But that's not what Coulter wrote. In fact, it can't possibly be derived from what she wrote. Coulter wrote that the widows had happily exchanged their husbands' deaths for money and celebrity, expecially since they would soon have been divorced anyway.

There's no kernel of truth there to be found. Not even "a little."

Reeve and TNR are just ratings whores anxious to take advantage of Coulter's notorious celebrity.

I don't see how anyone could mount an intelligent argument in defense of Coulter, but I'd be willing to read one. Reeve's piece failed to do it. Reeve didn't even come close.

If Coulter ever writes anything that proves to be true, some assiduous researcher will discover that she plagiarized it.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Andrew O'Hara said...

To quote Reeve, "Coulter shocks and offends, but underneath her offensiveness is a grain of truth." I'm really so very tired of the in-your face style being assumed by writers, political and otherwise, today. Reeve loves it that Coulter "pisses people off."

Yawn. Like every teenage blogger and wannabe writer is trying to do.

6:50 PM  

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